What Is Gorilla Hair Mulch and When Should You Use It?

We may be paid a commission if you purchase through links on this page. More info.

Embarking on a gardening project brings its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to selecting the right mulch for your landscape. If you’re puzzled by the term “gorilla hair mulch,” you’re not alone.

Despite its bewildering name, this unique mulch type, derived from the finely shredded bark of redwood and western cedar trees, offers a natural solution to some of gardening’s most vexing issues.

Gardeners often grapple with weed control, moisture retention, soil erosion, and pest deterrence—problems that gorilla hair mulch can help solve with its dense, fibrous texture.

With years of gardening experience and a penchant for exploring sustainable landscaping materials, I’m here to shed light on when gorilla hair mulch can be the hero of your garden story.

Like many of you, I’ve sifted through countless mulch options in search of one that not only looks good but also performs well under various conditions.

Join me as we unravel the mysteries of gorilla hair mulch and discover how it can transform your gardening endeavors.

what is gorilla hair mulch

What Is Gorilla Hair Mulch?

Gorilla hair mulch is made from the bark from redwood and western cedar trees that has been finely shredded. This produces a fibrous, coarse-textured mulch that looks like – yep, you guessed it – gorilla hair!

Gorilla hair mulch comes in two main colors:

  • The natural light red/brown
  • Dyed black varieties

What Gorilla Hair Mulch is Used For

Gorilla Hair performs much the same functions as other mulches:

  • Block Weeds
  • Keep moisture in the soil and slows down evaporation
  • Holds soil in place due to its fibrous, mat-like layer

Gorilla Hair Mulch Pros

This unique mulch has a number of benefits, some of which are not common and it can be useful in some areas that are traditionally difficult to mulch.

Great For Mulching a Slope

Because gorilla hair mulch naturally holds together, it is great for using on a slope as it tends to stick there and not slide off like a more traditional mulch would.

It will help keep soil in place on slopes and stop erosion.

Decomposes slowly

Do you like mulching? No? Me either. Well, this mulch is long-lasting. It decomposes very slowly and you will not need to replace it for several years.

It also fades very little over its lifespan, so it will keep your garden looking like it has just been freshly mulched. Nice and tidy!

Forms a Dense Mat and Keeps Soil Moist

Gorilla hair mulch works by forming a dense mat that covers the soil. There are a number of reasons why this is good:

  • It keeps the soil moist and slows down evaporation
  • Because of the mat this mulch forms, it is especially good for sticking to sloped areas. If you have had problems with mulch staying on a sloped area in the past – try gorilla hair mulch
  • It is especially good for windy environments – the mulch simply does not blow away
  • More difficult for birds to kick out of your garden!

Pest Control

Cedar bark (one of the materials that gorilla hair mulch can be made from) has proven to be a deterrent for a variety of pests including:

Gorilla Hair Mulch Cons

As with any product, there are also some things you should be aware of before deciding to use gorilla hair mulch.


This mulch is quite flammable and should not be placed in an area that may be exposed to open flames or even cigarette butts.

Can Trap/Block Water

If you apply this mulch too thickly, then it can form a mat that is too dense for even water to get through. This means that your soil will see none of that lovely rainwater and it will simply get trapped in the mulch itself.

It is important to make sure you do not pack your mulch down too much, otherwise you will find that it will act like a water barrier and stop the soil getting any moisture at all.

How to Apply Gorilla Hair Mulch

gorilla hair mulch

Gorilla Hair Mulch is applied much the same as most other mulches you may have used in the past.

It works on almost any plants and is especially good for US natives.

There are two points to be aware of:

  1. Apply to a thickness of no more than 2-3 inches (about 6 cubic yards per 1,000 sq ft is perfect). Otherwise, the mulch will actually stop water from reaching the soil
  2. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the base of trees and bushes, or may encourage rot
  3. If you are mulching the side of a reasonably steep hill, then throw down some Jute Netting first. This will hold the soil in place and give the mulch something to grab onto.

If you need a mulch calculator, there is a great one available here: https://www.landscapecalculator.com/calculators/mulch

Gorilla Hair Mulch FAQ

Can You Use Gorilla Hair Mulch on a Vegetable Garden?

Yes, you certainly can. Just make sure it isn’t packed down to hard so that the water can penetrate the mulch to reach the soil and plant roots.

Is Gorilla Grass Mulch The Same As Gorilla Hair?

Yes, they are the same thing – just a slightly different name.

Other commonly used names for the same product include:

  • Monkey hair mulch
  • Gorilla bark mulch
  • Gorilla fur mulch
  • Gorilla hair bark
  • Shredded redwood mulch

Is Gorilla Hair Mulch Flammable?

Yes – When it is dry, it can be very flammable.

It is not recommended to use gorilla hair mulch in areas that are susceptible to wild wildfires, or near any areas that may be exposed to open flames or lit cigarette butts.

Do you have any questions relating to this article? Email us at [email protected] or call us on +1 (310) 961-4908

This content may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links we may be compensated. More info.

Photo of author
Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. With over 15 years of hands-on experience in home ownership, lawn care, and gardening, Aaron is a seasoned expert in areas like lawn care, DIY, HVAC, and pest control.

21 thoughts on “What Is Gorilla Hair Mulch and When Should You Use It?”

  1. Avatar photo

    Is this safe around trees? I heard cedar is horrible for trees. I’ve been using it thinking it was only redwood.

  2. Avatar photo

    Would this be a good option for a natural playground area? Thank you.

    • Aaron Green

      It would, but I probably wouldnt use it as a ‘soft fall’ if that is what you need.

  3. Avatar photo

    Do you know if Gorilla mulch impacts the acidity of the soil if used on vegetables. I’m surface watering rather than drip and wondering if there’s an acidic issue.

    • Aaron Green

      Im not totally sure, but I don’t think it does.

  4. Avatar photo

    My landscaper sold me on the Gorilla Hair and it looks amazing…..for the first two weeks.. Leaves, flower pedals, get caught in it and you have to pick it up by hand. Unless there is a different way. Please tell me
    there is!!!

    • Avatar photo

      I had gorilla mulch on my drought tolerant landscape, not worried about biodegradable natural things falling on it! If you’re after manicured landscaping, you’ll get stressed… enjoy nature!!

  5. Avatar photo

    will this mulch keep neighborhood cats from using my yard as their bathroom?

    • Aaron Green

      As far as I know it doesnt have any properties that will repel cats.

      • Avatar photo

        Thank you!

  6. Avatar photo

    Do I need to lay down a weed barrier before the GHM? Tons of weeds in my rocks now, replacing the rocks soon with GHM….

    • Aaron Green

      If you place the right amount on you shouldnt need it.

      • Avatar photo

        Try crushed red peppers, like what you get with pizza

  7. Avatar photo

    I heard GHM is bad for pets because the fine particles blow in the wind and can be harmful to them. Is this true?

    • Aaron Green

      If your pets are sensitive to that sort of stuff then it might irritate them. I don’t think it would harm them though.

  8. Avatar photo

    Do you need to remove old gorilla mulch before adding new gorilla mulch?

    • Aaron Green

      It depends on how decomposed the old stuff is. If it’s really decomposed, then probably not. But you want to make sure that you are not creating a barrier to moisture reaching the soil.

  9. Avatar photo

    Do you need to apply a mesh before putting gorilla mulch on s hill?

    • Aaron Green

      Hi Marilyn,

      It is a good idea to place some Jute Netting down before laying your mulch. It will help hold the soil in place and also give something for your mulch to stick to. You can get it from Amazon Here.

      • Avatar photo

        Hi Aaron, could you define “steep” for me, haha? I’m hoping to avoid the extra step of putting down jute netting before the gorilla hair. The area in question isn’t steep per se, more gradient (think 40ft of a terraced rice field that runs along my driveway from street to garage); it’s a small incline. Do you think that warrants the jute netting? Many TIA for your help/reply!!

        • Aaron Green

          Hi Kat, without seeing it, it’s hard to say. But it sounds like you shouldn’t need any netting – Gorilla mulch is pretty good at holding on!

Leave a Comment